Friday, July 31, 2009

Making History?

I love historical fiction books. And I don't mean those steamy romances where the characters supposedly lived 300+ years ago. No. I like the ones where the authors take a historically significant event, or time period, and toss in fictional characters in such a way that you're transported back in time, and history comes alive.

While I promise I haven't been one of those "If they don't sell it at Deseret Book, I don't read it" people in years, LDS Authors do seem to have a knack for the genre, or at least for appealing to my tastes.

As a teenager, I fell in love with Chris Heimindinger's adventures in Book of Mormon times.

The Church History tour I took after graduation, made Gerald Lund's famous series on the early church especially poignant.

I later fell in love with Dean Hughes's WWII series, then Jerry Borrowman's books on WWI and WWII.

Most recently I've returned to Dean Hughes's books, this time, it's the next generation, covering the 1960's and 1970's, the Berlin Wall going up, the Vietnam War, The Civil Rights Movement, the Feminist Movement, etc. They're wonderful books, and they've got me thinking. Not only about that time period, but about our own.

Basically, the focus of his first series covered my grandparents' generation, this second set covers my parents' generation. So it would seem that if he did a third series, it would be about my generation. But I think through all the historically significant events I've seen occur in my lifetime, and while there's no discounting the importance of some of them, or of the wars we've seen battled, I still wonder if any of them would be enough to warrant our own series. Would future generations want to pick it up to learn about what we've experienced? To learn about the 9-11 and the War on Terror? What, maybe the gay rights movement?

Of course we learn and grow from history. By studying the pioneers we see their faith, their endurance, their dedication and their sacrifice, and somehow our trials seem easier to bear. And since most of my ancestry came across the plains, I gain insights into their own lives as well.

I get the same from studying other modern eras. I learn what my ancestors went through. I already received a strong sense of patriotism from both my grandfathers, but reading more about what they endured, or what my great grandparents went through in WWI...its very humbling and yet very pride provoking.

Reading these books now...I feel this sense of joy and gratitude at how far we've come. Sure, we still have a ways to go before we have a perfect world and before racism or so many of the other problems are abolished. I wonder where we would be if those in that generation had not chosen to stand-up the way they did.

What do you think? If you were to write a book about our time, what would it include? What things will our generation be known for generations from now? What will be our Legacy?

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